This paper examines the gravity tunnel using the internal structure of Earth as ascertained from seismic data. Numerically, it is found that the time taken to fall along the diameter is 38 min, compared to 42 min for a planet with uniform density. The time taken to fall along a straight line between any two points is no longer independent of distance but interpolates between 42 min for short trips and 38 min for long trips. The brachistochrone path (minimizing the time between any two points) is similar in shape to the uniform-density solution but tends to reach a greater maximum depth and takes less time to traverse. Although the assumption of uniform density works well in many cases, the simpler assumption of a constant gravitational field serves as a better approximation to the true results.
Skip Nav Destination
March 01 2015
The gravity tunnel in a non-uniform Earth
Alexander R. Klotz; The gravity tunnel in a non-uniform Earth. Am. J. Phys. 1 March 2015; 83 (3): 231–237. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4898780
Download citation file: